Friday, 19 April, 2019

11 sickened in salmonella outbreak linked to hedgehogs — CDC

BRITAIN-AGRICULTURE-SHOW Hedgehogs can carry salmonella even when they appear healthy. Oli Scarff AFP Getty Images
Anna Jefferson | 28 January, 2019, 00:00

Of the 11 people affected, ten of them reported contact with a hedgehog, the CDC said.

"Hedgehogs can carry Salmonella germs in their droppings while appearing healthy and clean", the CDC explains. This can be easily transferred in their habitat, toys, beddings, and anywhere else the animals stay, so it is best to constantly wash hands with soap after holding or feeding the pet and cleaning its things.

The CDC said Friday afternoon that it, along with public health officials in several states, is investigating the outbreak.

The CDC reports that 11 people in 8 states have gotten sick. An additional three cases were reported in Missouri, with one case each in Colorado, Maine, Mississippi, Nebraska, Texas and Wyoming.

Symptoms of salmonella infection include fever, diarrhea and stomach cramps.

While a common supplier of the potentially infected hedgehogs has not been identified at this time, the CDC noted that these animals have the potential to infect people with salmonella regardless of where they were purchased.

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Last month, more than 200 people from across the United States fell ill, 84 of them hospitalized, from a salmonella outbreak linked to raw turkey products that prompted a second voluntary recall.

The CDC estimates salmonella causes about 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations, and 450 deaths each year in the U.S.

Most people can recover without treatment, although there are cases where antibiotics or IV fluids are needed. "Don't let hedgehogs roam freely in areas where food is prepared or stored, such as kitchens".

Since there is a greater risk of salmonella complications in children under 5, adults over 65, and people with weakened immune systems, health officials say households with these individuals might want to consider a different pet.

Clean habitats, toys, and supplies outside the house when possible.

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